Just a couple of small items can help you modify both hard and soft lures on the fly. Photo by Joel Shangle

No matter how many lures you carry in your boat, there’s always a color you need but don’t have. That’s a problem that plagues professional anglers just as much as recreational anglers. You just can’t carry every color combination of every bait out there.

I’ve solved that problem with a few quick tricks that allow me to change or alter colors quickly and efficiently.

Start With the Basics

First of all, I mostly carry just the basic colors in every lure. I’d rather have more shapes, sizes and actions than colors, especially when it comes to my hard baits. I can change colors quickly with simple paint markers that are sold in hobby stores. They’re cheap and they dry in a minute or two in the boat.

I can make a black back, a blue back, a white belly, a chartreuse belly or a shad spot almost as quick with them as I can dig a new lure out of my tackle.

With my plastics, it’s all about dye. I’m a firm believer that you can’t carry too many white plastic lures in your boat. They can be changed into almost any color or color combination with a Spike-It product. It’s the easiest way I know of to match the hatch.

Look over everything they offer and buy what works for you. I’m partial to the pens. I do, however, carry some of their liquid dyes and a handful of Q-tips for detail work.

Getting That “Worn-In” Look

A third thing I want to talk about is taking the shine off of your lures — hard and soft. Those of you who follow me know that I’m a firm believer in making things look old. Not much out there is all-new, perfect and shiny.

To get that worn look, I use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Pad. They’ll take the shine off of anything and the beauty of using them is that you can just take a little off or a lot. It’s your choice.

I used to use steel wool but I like the Magic Erasers better. I have more control with them.  

Everything I’ve talked about here can be carried in a medium-size clear plastic freezer bag and stored almost anywhere. Modify your lures on the fly when you fish. You’ll have more efficiency and success, and you’ll save a ton of money by not buying lures that you rarely throw.